A memory popped up on Facebook today, from eight years ago. And now in this season of Covid, I’m relating with how Mom was feeling back then in more and more ways…
That day, as I was helping my mom, she said, “I don’t even know where I am.”
“You’re in your home,” I assured her.
“I am?” she asked. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, you’ve lived here for many years. This is your home.”
And now I get the sense that we, as a people in this time in history, don’t even know where we are. We haven’t moved, but so much around us has changed.
My husband is a pastor, and he and so many others, are trying to figure out how to offer worship services and fellowship, and all the blessings that good churches try to provide, with all the rules and restrictions of social distancing and safety in place.
My oldest daughter is a teacher. And it’s a whole new world of bending and changing expectations as they struggle to give students the best possible education and experiences while teaching on-line, or in school with masks and rules and as much distance, barriers, and disinfecting as possible.
One of my sons and his wife are both trying to work full-time jobs, mostly from home these days, while they care for their three young children. I know many families are doing the same. I have no clue how they do it.
My best friend, who loves to shop, doesn’t even like it anymore. It’s not fun to wear masks and follow one-way arrows in the aisles and see worried faces all around.
There are riots in cities. Crime rates have risen. People are tense and angry. And life is so different. I don’t even know where I am.
I had a doctor’s appointment today. I didn’t wait for my regular doctor, because I wouldn’t be able to see her for two months! The scheduler explained that they only have two doctors in clinic at a time and try to do everything else with virtual visits. So I set up an online visit and had a video chat on the phone, and still the doctor was wearing a surgical mask. (Is that a rule, or something?)
I think of having people over, and then wonder if it’s safe. What if the weather isn’t nice and we can’t be outside? I’ve continued to see my immediate family, in smaller groupings, and mostly outside. I know some of them are social distancing more than others, out of concern for vulnerable family members, and so I wonder when we will ALL be together again. And I’m glad I took a family picture of all my kids and grands smiling and squished together in February, at our last big party. And I wonder what the holidays will be like this year…
I’ve lived in the same place for thirty years now. But it’s easy these days to say, “I don’t even know where I am.” I don’t recognize this world I’m in. And it’s too easy to get depressed about that.
But as I was reading my Bible the other day, a phrase stood out to me; “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God…” Psalm 50:14a (NLT)
It makes me wonder… Why is thankfulness considered a sacrifice? How is thankfulness a sacrifice? Why does God value it over other sacrifices?
I don’t know. But I do know that God loves us very much and He knows what is best for us.
And I know that when I’m sliding down into depressing thoughts, the thing that pulls me up most consistently is when I stop and focus on God and remember all that He’s done for me. It’s tempting to fall into a “pit of despair” and wallow there– but gratitude gives me a ladder to climb out of it.
Emotions come and go, or come and grab ahold. But God prompts us to pour our hearts out to Him. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace…” Philippians 4:6-7a (NLT)
Sometimes it’s hard to give thanks, because I’m overwhelmed with all that’s weighing on me. But as I just do it anyway, my heart is lifted.
I can remember how much God has helped me through already. I can thank Him for a roof and food and family. I can be grateful for fun memories, a Bible to read, and the saving grace of Jesus. I can thank Him for sunshine, cool breezes, flowers blooming, and phone calls. I can offer gratitude for the blessings of prayer, chocolate, coffee, and the tiny feet of seven grandchildren who call me Mimi.
There is something about giving thanks that changes my perspective. I don’t know where I am exactly in this challenging time of history. Everything is so different. But God is still with us. And He is always good.
And when I stop and worship Him with a grateful heart, I have peace knowing I am where I’m supposed to be. And I can rest in my Father’s goodness and love, and feel at home again.
Thank you for this beautiful entry.
I was encouraged by it so much. And will share it with my sisters and friends, daughter and daughter in law.
We all have shared your feelings of not knowing where we are and what’s going on. May God bless you… please don’t stop sharing these posts!
Thank you, Teresa! I’m so blessed to hear this encouraged you and that you want to share it!
Than you, as always, for your encouraging words. I, too, have been meditating on Phil. 4:6-7. I find it difficult to “rejoice” during the uncertainty and inconvenience of this virus. But I know it is God’s desire for me to be joyful and thankful even when I don’t feel like it. I dread the visits with my parents who are in Memory Care 30 miles away. We have to visit outside in the heat of the Oklahoma summer, wear masks, and stay 6 feet away at all times. Due to their age and my mouth being covered, I have to shout at my parents who understand little of what I try to say to them so I leave the visits more depressed each time: Depressed that I didn’t get to give them a hug or squeeze their hand. Depressed that my mom seems to be moving further and further away into her bizarre world of dementia. Depressed that Dad is pretty much alone with her now and that I can’t take much of the burden of dealing with mom day in and day out from him as we only get 30 minute time slots for scheduled visits. I know God is with them and His presence can darken the darkest of days so I am thankful for that. I am thankful for the many good, happy years I had with wonderful, healthy, parents who so freely shared God’s love with me. I am thankful that I know their next home will be in heaven. I am thankful that so far they have not contracted this virus and that God has their lives, me and my families lives, and this virus under His control. As a former teacher, I will certainly remember your daughter in my prayers and I am thankful for the many teachers who will unselfishly give of themselves in so many ways to the children in their classroom. May God continue to bless you and yours. Keep writing. God is using your gift to encouraged so many.
Thank you, Ivy. And thank you for sharing the pain of visiting loved ones in Memory Care. I know it’s hard and I’m so sorry for you and they are going through. My health issues have kept me home, but my husband and daughter have visited my mother-in-law in Memory Care and can relate. It’s so heartbreaking to think of elderly people secluded for months. I know our state is beginning new protocols soon because they know it’s not sustainable for the elderly. We want to keep them healthy and safe, but it’s not healthy or right for them to be so isolated. Thank you for sharing your story, your heart aches and your gratitude. May God continue to give you grace and strength as you follow Him and show love to your parents. Sending hugs and love! ~Cheryl
Thank you for such an encouraging post. It was such a great reminder. When I was trying to cope with the loss of two grandchildren, God brought these verses and others to the forefront and the theme of thankfulness as sacrifice. Thank you for reminding me!
I’m so sorry for your loss, Jocelyn. But I’m thankful to hear God used this post to encourage and remind you. May God bless you and give you grace.
Your writings touch my heart Thankyou , God bless you 🙏
Thank you, Mary! I’m grateful to hear this! God bless you, too!
Thank you for this encouraging post. I am taking baby-steps in learning to lean into God’s love and rediscover His faithfulness. My heart has hardened due to difficult circumstances and unfulfilled desires. My prayer is that God would peel away the layers of doubt and bitterness and soften my heart to recognize His love again.
Your blog is one of God’s graces that is helping me along this journey back to my Father’s house.
I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been through such difficult things, HS. I pray with you that God will heal and soften your heart to know His love again.
It blesses me to hear these posts are being used by God. Thank you for that encouragement. May God continue to bless and comfort you.
i am so thankful for all the insights you give us, the caegivers … here is where i really am having a struggle. i have taken care of several other dementia patients .. all females. (I am a woman also) my latest “Paatient” is a Male, 87, with dementia that has hit a ‘banana peel’ on his cognitive skills … the owmen patients were all so very concerned on their appearance etc when we had to go out …. several would want several baths … I will NOT bathe this gentleman he is very capable too do his own body care ,,, but HE WON’T! he WILLL NOT shower or put on clean clothing for weeks at a time … HOW DO I CONVINCE HIM HE NEEDS TO CLEANJHISSELF UP.. PUT ON FRESH CLOTHING S H O W E R !!!
CAN ANYONE HELP ME WITH THIS..
Hi Joy, Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry I didn’t see it until now. I was out of town. That does sound very challenging. My own mom got to where she hated taking showers. She would scream and shout and sometimes even push or hit. I would try to talk about how nice it will be to get fresh and clean and talk her into a little walk to the bathroom. I’d try to make everything as comfortable as I could for her and walk her through the steps and physically help as needed. But I’m sure she wouldn’t have done any of it if I hadn’t been right there gently insisting/encouraging and helping. I hope someone else has more helpful suggestions. May God bless and strengthen you.
It is a challenging time but yes I too, remind myself to be grateful for all I have (rather than the restrictions).
It does help! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!